"I want my baby!" screams Mari as she endures the pulsating labor pains in her in-home birthing pool. This scene, which opens Laura Marks's chilling new play, Mine, presented with intimate intensity by The Gift Theatre, provides a dark foreboding to Mari's motherhood. You see, the next morning Marie (the fiercely committed Hillary Clemens) awakens to a baby she knows deep down is not hers.
But is it a mother's intuition, or the result of all those pesky hormones and deliriousness caused by a string of sleepless nights? After all, babies change. They evolve.
Yes, we've seen this story before -- it's the classic fear. Am I a bad mother? How do I love something that might not be mine? Even: is my baby a changeling? From Ms. Farrow to Ms. Jolie, it's a theme of great drama and weight. But playwright Marks does something bold and takes the play into deeply disturbing, new psychological territory. Marni meets someone on the park bench who confirms her deep-down fear. And it's not what anyone expects.
At this point, the play could easily fall off the rails with melodrama, but with uncompromisingly committed performances by the entire ensemble paired with straight-to-the-heart direction by Marti Lyons, you start to question what's real and what isn't.
Following this taut, 80-minute drama, I knew I'd be making a trip back to The Gift Theatre very soon. This is storefront theatre at its very best.
"Mine" plays through August 11 at The Gift Theatre. More info here >